e~Aurora
A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Conference News
"Finding Newness of Life Through Our Doors" | Ola Toe Fuataina UM Samoan Fellowship
“Ola Toe Fuataina” means “Newness Life” or the “New Beginning.” This congregation was recognized in the Alaska Conference on June 3, 2016, when the East Anchorage United Methodist discontinued. When it started it had around 70 members, and around 25 constituent members and what made it unique is that its Worship Service, Sunday School, and the Youth ministry are all conducted in the Samoan language.

It is truly amazing what God was able to do through this group of believers. People came from different places, villages, and grew up in different denominations; came together to build the body of God’s family. As this body of Christ, they visited at the hospitals, nursing homes, and Church families when members were unable to attend services. Together they strengthened and supported them physically, mentally and especially spiritually.

Positive social purpose lending program
This month, members of our staff have traveled to all three of the Annual Conferences in our Episcopal Area. Most recently, this journey took us to Eugene, just a few miles from a place where we can see our sustainable investment dollars at work. Through our partnership with Wespath, some of the funds you hold in the Foundation’s diversified portfolios are invested through the Positive Social Purpose Lending Program. This program promotes affordable housing and community development for disadvantaged areas while seeking to deliver market-rate returns to investors. In Eugene, this program helped to finance the Apple Orchard Village Apartments, which is a handicap accessible low-income apartment complex.

UMCOR aids Chignik communities
When Chignik communities were devastated by a lack of all salmon species in 2018, the United Methodist Committee on Relief stepped in to help. Partnering with the Bristol Bay Native Association, UMCOR funded a food security program to source, transport and deliver food, pantry and household items throughout the winter months and into this summer's fishing season.

Billy Still is the former pastor of the North Star UMC, Anchor Park UMC and superintendent of the Alaska Missionary Conference. He is the author of The Jawbone of a Carnivore - Praying the Pathway to Peace, a book for people with spiritual questions and an interest in adventure. Billy has spent his life as a pastor, husband, father, adventurer, wilderness traveler, ultra-athlete, and one who struggles to identify prayer in the ways we move through life. He is recently retired and in his retirement has earned the Solstice MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Pine Manor College. Billy and his wife, Ann, have spent their life together in Mississippi, Alaska, and Arizona, where they currently live.

The Jawbone of a Carnivore will fill your imagination with tales of adventure, friendship, eccentric people, success and failure, as well as encounters with life and death. Billy says, "While I explore the adventurous life and the pathway to peace that can come from it, I do not offer instructions on how to pray. I will encourage you to believe that the way we live can become a prayer. This memoir of life on the edge of the unknown trusts that you will strike out on your own audacious exploration of the world and the spirit that surrounds it. Perhaps, through this, you will identify your pathway to peace and in so doing find yourself saying on some cold and snowy morning, "This is a prayer."

Superintendent out on vacation in July
Carlo will be on vacation from July 3-20 and July 26-31.
Save the Date
Fall and Winter meeting dates set
Please mark your calendars now for the Fall and Winter Rendezvous meeting dates.
  • Fall Rendezvous - October 3-5, 2019
  • Winter Rendezvous - February 6-8, 2020
National News
Grants will address LGBTQ youth suicide
United Methodist Women has awarded two $50,000 grants for work to thwart suicide among LGBTQ youth to The Trevor Project and the Tyler Clementi Foundation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, resulting in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year. LGBTQ youth are three to six times more likely to attempt suicide than other youth.

How accurate are church membership numbers?
Church membership data plays a critical role in denominational decision-making, but the numbers come with uncertainty. Heather Hahn explains how church leaders gather the information and the role it plays.

2 bishops offer plan for denomination's future
Bishops David Bard and Scott Jones propose making The United Methodist Church an umbrella organization for new, self-governing church groups that would offer different approaches on same-sex unions and ordination of gay clergy.

Ideas and aids for back-to-school ministry
Over the next two months, students and teachers across the United States will be returning to the classroom. As preparations for the back-to-school procession begin, United Methodist congregations will be blessing backpacks, collecting and distributing school supplies, hosting seasonal events and offering support for teachers. ResourceUMC shares what some churches are doing.

Deacon went from superheroes to God
The Rev. Mike Friedrich is a United Methodist deacon with a Marvel-ous past. Friedrich, who now works to redevelop church properties in the California-Nevada Conference, is being belatedly recognized for his contributions to the comic book industry. He helped create characters  including Thanos —  and wrote for DC and Marvel comics as a young man.
  
Be prepared with UMCOR
A new and troubling trend is beginning to define disaster season: stronger storms with higher winds, heavier rain with wider reach. We saw this just last week as the Gulf Coast received an extraordinary amount of rainfall and flooding from a category 1 hurricane.

UMCOR is working diligently to stay ahead of the curve.

Through nearly 80 years of work, experience has taught us the importance of having the right resources at the right time.

We invite you to explore resources below that can connect yourself, your church and your community to UMCOR's work in disaster preparedness and response.

Act
British church considers same-sex marriage
British Methodists passed a series of provisional resolutions related to proposals on marriage and relationships during the annual Methodist Conference, including the ability of same-sex couples to marry in Methodist churches. District synods will consider the proposals before a final vote in 2020.

Journey church serves Native Americans
The Journey at Spirit Lake, a United Methodist church serving Native American families, grew out of a Volunteers in Mission team outreach 12 years ago. Since its first service in 2017, the church has seen seven baptisms, as well as the formation of a youth group and a vacation Bible school.

Conference Calendar
3-20: Carlo on vacation
22-23: WJ Summit Design Team - Carlo attending
26-31: Carlo on vacation
3: Leadership Team meeting
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

July 21 -
Lisa Talbott

August 13 -
Bennie Grace Nabua
Conference Office
907-333-5050

Superintendent Carlo
907-854-8340
The Conference Office hours are:

Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am - 11:30 am
Submissions - If you have an article or event that you would like to share with the rest of the conference, submit it to the conference office by Tuesday at 9:00 am for consideration.
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Mission Statement:
The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Held and supported by the transforming relationship with God through Christ, we of the Alaska United Methodist Conference seek to be a community that creates a home for all peoples, finds our hope through grace and journeys together in God's preferred future.
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